Ridley Scott's seminal 2000 film "Gladiator" is gearing up for a sequel starring Oscar nominee Paul Mescal, but original star Russell Crowe is not involved. In a 28 March interview on "The Ryan Tubridy Show" on RTÉ Radio 1, Crowe said that though he played the title hero of the first film, director Scott and his team haven't talked to him about the sequel in some time.
"I'm sure at some point in time they'll want to ask me about something, but they haven't brought anything up in a while," the actor said of the upcoming movie, which will take place 20 years after the original. "It's an extension of the narrative, but it is long beyond Maximus's passing, so it doesn't really involve me at all." Crowe's Maximus dies at the end of "Gladiator," so this officially ends any rumours of a retconning resurrection for the hero.
Crowe did share praise for Mescal, however, adding, "I hear that young fella Paul is a good dude, and I wish him the best of luck with it." Of the movie's plot, Crowe said, "I think where they're picking the story up from, a young Lucius, stepping into the role of emperor. I think that's a very smart idea within the world of the film that we created."
Mescal's attachment to the "Gladiator" sequel was first reported by Deadline in January. The news comes over two decades after the release of the original, which earned five awards at the 2001 Oscars, including best picture. Mescal is set to portray Lucius, Lucilla's son, who briefly appears as a young boy (played by Spencer Treat Clark) in the first film. Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) is the former lover of Maximus and sister to the sadistic Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix).
Scott will return to direct the sequel, while the script is written by David Scarpa. This will mark Scott and Scarpa's third collaboration together after "All the Money in the World" and the upcoming "Napoleon." From the original "Gladiator" crew, costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max have also signed on.
"Gladiator" wasn't just an Oscar winner; it was a smash hit that earned over $460 million at the box office. In addition to its best picture Oscar, Crowe received the award for best actor. Phoenix also received a nomination for best supporting actor.
A release date for the "Gladiator" sequel is likely still a ways away, but keep reading for all the existing details about the follow-up film.